Oh, my. It is almost the end of February and time to take a look at the goals I’ve set for 2021 and see where I am in the scheme of things. *sigh*
Uh…let me see. My books run anywhere from 90,000 to a 100,000 words. My first goal for the fourth book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers was to have 20,000 words of the first draft written by the end of February.
Check…that looks doable since I have almost 14,000 and a couple of weeks (as of writing this) to go until March 1. My goal for March is to double that figure which would give me 60,000 by April 1, leaving only 10,000 words to go in order to reach my May 1st goal of 80,000 words.
My first draft always consists mainly of the suspense plot for my romantic suspense books, with a small amount of romance thrown in. From May 1 until my June 1 deadline, I’ll be adding romance to the story and polishing every word until I have a finished product.
I’ll revisit my goals for this book at the beginning of every month to see where I am. At this point, I need to write 1,300 words five days a week to meet my goals. Knowing how many words I need to write each day helps keep me on target, but sometimes it takes all seven days to make that goal.
The virus no longer distracts me…I’ve moved on to other things, like this week’s snow storm. You’d think with not being able to get out, I’d really tear up the computer, pouring out words onto the page. Not. I’ve struggled each day to make my word count. I write better when I can follow my routine.
Another distract was earlier this month when Obsession, the second book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers released. I’m so excited about this book. The idea for it came to me on my first trip to Natchez when I stopped at Mount Locust, the only stand or Inn left on the Trace. Mount Locust is a four-room house where travelers stopped for the night and slept on the porch or the ground. At some point the owners built a two-story, eight-room house for travelers, but it was torn down years ago.
It was at Mount Locust that the idea for Obsession came to me. There is a slave cemetery there along with the buried remnants of slave quarters. My heroine is determined to find and identify all the remains in the slave cemetery so that the dead receive the recognition they never got in life. But someone doesn’t want her researching the cemetery. They will do anything, including murder to stop her.
The easiest part of writing Obsession was the passion Emma Winters had for righting a wrong, and the hardest part was dealing with someone so like me, the author. Half the time, Emma wouldn’t do what I wanted her to do. And when she didn’t want to do something, she fell silent. That is difficult for an author to deal with. I had to go back and find where I first veered off the path with her, fix that, and then everything would be okay until I did it again. Stubborn character!
But every character teaches me something. Emma taught me to respect her values, and to not try and make her do something against them. The key sometimes is to figure out exactly what that value is. I go wrong when I don’t.
Writers do whatever it takes to get the words down on the page, and this is a look into my writing life. It’s not the only way to write a book, but it’s the way I do it.
USA Today Best-selling author, Patricia Bradley is a Carol finalist and winner of an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in Suspense. She and her two cats call North Mississippi home--the South is also where she sets most of her books. Her romantic suspense novels include the Logan Point series and the Memphis Cold Case Novels. Standoff, the first book in the Natchez Trace Park Ranger’s series released May 5, 2020, and she’s finished the second book, Obsession and is hard at work on the third, Crosshairs.
Writing workshops include American Christian Fiction Writers online courses, workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference, the KenTen Retreat where she was also the keynote, Memphis American Christian Fiction Writer group, and the Bartlett Christian Writers group. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.
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